(Thomaston) Trekkers, a youth-mentoring organization in Midcoast Maine, recently hosted their ninth annual “From the ‘Hood to the Woods” expedition at Blueberry Cove Camp in Tenants Harbor. The expedition provided an opportunity for students from Trekkers and their sister organization, Urban Trekkers from Camden, NJ, to build meaningful relationships across cultural boundaries, and to challenge themselves in Maine’s beautiful outdoors.
This year’s expedition had 40 people, including 30 students, that kayaked Maine’s coastline in Port Clyde, jumped from the highest points in local swimming quarries, hiked on Monhegan Island, walked the Rockland Breakwater, went bowling at Oakland Park Bowling Lanes, played basketball, experienced lobstering with a local fisherman in Tenants Harbor and enjoyed a community lobster bake at Blueberry Cove. Throughout the expedition, students and mentors incorporated meaningful discussion about the issues of fear, labeling and race, and engaged in the team building activities that are a trademark of Trekkers programming.
“From the ‘Hood to the Woods” was created in 2006 by Don Carpenter, executive director of Trekkers, and Jim Cummings, director of Urban Trekkers, as a way to encourage cross-cultural understanding and dialogue between rural and urban youth. Both men were interested in creating a safe setting where students from all walks of life could engage in meaningful conversations about stereotypes, prejudice and racism. The program they created allows dialogue to unfold naturally, while providing challenging experiences for both groups to connect and build relationships with each other. The students from Maine Trekkers will have the opportunity to visit Urban Trekkers on two different expeditions in the coming year, when they will take part in similar cultural exchanges in an urban environment.
Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center partnered with Trekkers during this program to provide the use of Blueberry Cove Camp. The camp currently offers programs throughout the summer and is also available for group rentals. Tanglewood is part of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Visit their Web site for more information: http://umaine.edu/tanglewood/
Currently celebrating its 20th anniversary of working with local youth, Trekkers connects young people with caring adults through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education. This year, the organization served more than 200 youth and involved more than 100 adult mentors from the communities of Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston. For more information about the “From the ‘Hood to the Woods” program or Trekkers, visit www.trekkers.org or call (207) 594-5095.